Kanubhai Patel and Manubhai Patel, both of Woodstock, Ill., and Mukesh Patel of Schaumburg, Ill., three owners of New Tech Electronics, Inc., a defunct Illinois electronics parts manufacturing firm, were indicted in March and charged with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The indictment alleges that from approximately April 1997 to Dec. 2001, the New Tech facility violated its CWA discharge permit by discharging higher than permitted concentrations of acidic and caustic wastewater into the town's sewer system through a bypass hose.
The illegal discharges, which occurred every one to three weeks, were allegedly diluted in the sewer system by water from a garden hose placed into a manhole hidden from view by a parked car.
Discharging unpermitted high levels of acids and caustics into sewers can disrupt the normal processing of sewage and can lead to sewage treatment plant outflows that are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. The Bensenville sewage treatment plant discharges into Addison Creek, which is a protected waterway.
The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from Bensenville wastewater treatment officials and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in a court of law.